To Improve a Cookie

Dear Girl Scouts:

You make these great cookies. They’re called Samoas. They have one deadly flaw, though – they have coconut on them. I’m convinced you’d double your output of Samoa sales if they lacked this polarizing ingredient. Nearly every poll of internet cookie aficionados declares that, if it weren’t for the coconut, Samoas would surpass Thin Mints in popularity.

I beg of you – save us from our national nightmare, and remove the coconut from Samoas! You know you can do it!

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Chapel Falls

Chapel Falls

Chapel Falls

Sony a700, Tamron 17-50.

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It’s coming to get you.

Spread Out

Spread Out

Sony a700, Sigma 50-500.

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Filling Out Surveys

As a new vehicle owner, I get surveys in the mail asking for my very valuable opinions. Of course, if people actually read the things that I wrote on there, then they might realize the absurdity of how these surveys are constructed.

Namely, the first thing that bothers me is all of the categorization and number-assigning you have to do. Is there really a difference between a seven star appointment rating versus a nine? It’s what we call unnecessary precision in mathematics. Plus, the long-form questions are always a bit rigid, so you never have basic “just tell us whatever you feel like” bits. Plus, the survey always makes you sound a bit negative. I love my new car, but it’s not perfect, and basically what I wrote in the survey was all of the non-perfect things.

Oh well.

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Synchtube

So apparently there’s this thing called Synchtube out there that can improve the process of watching videos at the same time, or, FURDER QUESTIONING as we like to call it. Except it’s kind of flakey and doesn’t seem to work all the time. Still, it’s a good first step, and I wonder why someone hasn’t tried it before. It’s a shame that more video steaming websites don’t have sync options. The hit-or-miss tactics of trying to start at the same time combined with trying to coordinate ad breaks on some services is quite annoying.

Just give an option for two logged in users to share the same timecodes and you’ve got it done. Sometimes you want to watch things with friends. Why not make it easier?

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Up is down, down is up.

Another user interface blunder in the Mazda 3 – sometimes, down is up, and up is down.

When shifting the gears, you pull “down” or towards you to shift up to a higher gear. This actually makes intuitive sense, as it’s how a ratchet shifter works. However, nothing else with an up-down interface seems to work this way. The volume up-down control is as you expect, of course, and right next to it is the seek/forward/back rocker. To go to a higher track, you have to press up. Inconsistent, much?

Then there’s the strange misapplication of up and down in relation to navigating folders on an MP3 CD. The FOLDER button has an up/down arrow on it, as opposed to a fast forward/rewind arrow. Down is basically in the position of rewind, but when I think of a folder hierarchy, I don’t think of down as rewind. In alphabetical order, down means going 1, 2, 3, 4, et cetera – or going forwards. Up is going backwards.

That is, unless you use ascending order, which Mazda apparently does.

I’m sure this is not a Mazda-only problem. Many cars and other platforms have these same kind of issues. Is it because the people making them just don’t care? Or is it just dogma piled on from down high? If I could design user interface…

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Quark 9.

WIll somebody tell Quark to go away? Nobody likes them anymore. I don’t, you don’t, let’s move on with our lives. Hopefully every year their terrible software becomes more irrelevant. Quark 8 just came out relatively recently, and now you’re on Quark 9? Given how much they charge for the software, I bet the take rate is going to be astronomically low.

At this point, making a transition is probably less painful than upgrading. Sad, really. How the mighty have fallen.

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